Charles Melcher

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Charles Melcher (born 1965) is the founder and president of Melcher Media, a small independent book packager and publisher in New York.

Biography[edit]

Charles Melcher was born on January 19, 1965, and raised in New York City, where he attended the Ethical Culture Fieldston School. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in 1988. Charles is the Founder and CEO of Melcher Media Inc., an award-winning app developer, book producer, and branded content company. Melcher Media's most recent success is the book "S." by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. The book is a New York Times bestseller and has been called "a profound and tremendous work or art" as well as "an elaborate love poem to the printed word." Another recent success was the iPad and iPhone app, "Our Choice," by Al Gore. The app was a #1 best-seller on the iTunes Store and won Apple's prestigious award for best designed app of 2011. Other recent projects include "Imagine, Design, Create," about the future of design produced for Autodesk and Timothy Ferris's "Four Hour Chef" published by Amazon for the Kindle Fire and other Android tablets.

Melcher Media[edit]

Charles Melcher initially became interested in publishing when, as a college student at Yale, he created a photography magazine. After graduating in 1988, he launched Melcher Press, Inc., and spent two years creating custom print materials for schools such as Dartmouth, Wesleyan, and Yale, before becoming publisher at Callaway Editions, where he oversaw the creation of titles such as Madonna's "SEX," David Kirk's "Miss Spider's Tea Party," and Irving Penn's life work, "Passage." In 1994, he relaunched his company as Melcher Media Inc., and one of its first jobs was to create a publishing imprint for MTV. Over the past sixteen years, Melcher has focused on helping international brands (such as Harley-Davidson, Lexus, Gap, Nike, and General Electric), media companies (Such as Condé Nast, Time Warner, NBC, and HBO), and individual authors (such as former Vice President Al Gore, the rapper Eminem, and "cradle to cradle" gurus William McDonough and Michael Braungart) to tell their stories and connect with large audiences. Melcher Media has over 12.5 million books in print, including 20 New York Times bestsellers, and in 2004, received a patent for the innovative waterproof DuraBook format.

Future of StoryTelling[edit]

Melcher is the founder of The Future of StoryTelling (FoST) summit, an exclusive gathering of highly influential people that are shaping the way that technology is revolutionizing human communications. Organized around a series of intimate, high-level discussions with inspiring speakers, as well as immersive experiences, this participatory summit will expose top-tier individuals and corporations to the new ideas and technologies that are driving the storytelling renaissance in the digital age.

DuraBooks[edit]

In August 2004, Melcher received a United States patent for the process of making waterproof books, called DuraBooks. DuraBooks are waterproof, tear-resistant, and virtually indestructible, and they are also up-cycleable, meaning their materials can be recycled in perpetuity—as opposed to regular paper, which can be recycled only a couple of times before the fibers wear out.[1]

The idea behind DuraBooks came to Melcher when he saw an article about women who enjoy reading in the bathtub. Together with his former production director, Andrea Hirsh, he settled on a synthetic variant of paper that consists of polypropylene and inorganic fillers rather than wood fibers, as well as a waterproof binding sewn with special thread and adhered with special non-toxic glue. The first book in the DuraBook format was Aqua Erotica, a racy collection of original fiction published by a division of Random House in 2000, while Melcher’s patent was still pending. Several titles have followed, including Cradle to Cradle, the bestselling book that uses the DuraBook format because of its positive environmental impact, and The Beach Book, an anthology of contemporary literary fiction set on beaches around the globe.[2]

Environment[edit]

Melcher is committed to environmental initiatives and has produced a range of books either within this subject matter or by using green-powered energy. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart (2002) was produced as a DuraBook and is a powerful proclamation of a philosophy of sustainability, putting forward the idea that products should be designed to provide nourishment for something new once their own life has run its course.[3] Melcher Media produced Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in 2006. The book brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world; photographs, charts, and other illustrations; and personal anecdotes and observations to document the fast pace and wide scope of global warming. Green Clean (2005) by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin, also produced by Melcher, provides eco-friendly home cleaning advice.[4]

Melcher Media is an FSC-certified company and received the Newcomer of the Year award in 2009 for outstanding achievements in green manufacturing from SustainPrint. Melcher is also a member of the Green Press Initiative, an industry group created to establish green practices in publishing.

Corporate[edit]

Melcher has collaborated with a number of corporate clients, such as Harley-Davidson, Neiman Marcus, GE, Nike, and Gap to make books that help tell their companies’ stories. Individuals: Portraits from the Gap Collection (2006) is a collection of portraits taken of culturally significant icons (William S. Burroughs, Karl Lagerfeld, Miles Davis, Tom Brady, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Irons) from the past two decades of their advertising campaign. The book comes with a CD of the songs featured in Gap TV ads, and all proceeds of the book go to (PRODUCT) RED, an initiative founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.[5]

Pop-up books[edit]

Melcher has produced a number of pop-up books, including The Pop-Up Book of Phobias (1999), The Pop-Up Book of Nightmares (1999), and The Pop-Up Book of Celebrity Meltdowns (2006), which shows the humorous side of public meltdowns, from Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” to O.J. Simpson’s slow-speed Bronco chase.[6] The most recent pop-up book, Wicked the Musical: A Pop-Up Compendium of Splendiferous Delight and Thrillifying Intrigue (2009), is based on the smash-hit, record-breaking, Tony Award–winning musical.[7]

Media[edit]

Television[edit]

Melcher has produced a number of books for hit TV series, including HBO’s Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell (2002), which is bound in a faux–pink alligator material and packaged in a shoebox,[8] and The Sopranos: The Book (2007); Comedy Central’s South Park: A Stickyforms Adventure (1998); and Bravo’s Top Chef: The Cookbook (2008).[9] Melcher also produced the book Sex and the City: The Movie (2008), written by Amy Sohn and with introductions by star and producer Sarah Jessica Parker and writer and director Michael Patrick King, which presents a storybook-style telling of the film and includes features such as behind-the-scenes stories from Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Michael Patrick King.[10]

Magazines[edit]

Melcher has collaborated with various magazines on book projects, such as Lucky magazine’s The Lucky Shopping Manual (2003) by Kim France and Andrea Linett, an influential piece-by-piece wardrobe guide that became a New York Times bestseller. Other magazine titles include New York magazine’s New York Look Book (2007), taken from the popular column by Amy Larocca and Jake Chessum and featuring nearly 250 photographs and interviews documenting New Yorkers’ personal styles;[11] Domino: The Book of Decorating (2008), a room-by-room guide to creating a happy home by domino magazine editors Deborah Needleman, Sara Ruffin Costello, and Dara Caponigro; and Secrets of Style: InStyle’s Complete Guide to Dressing Your Best Every Day (2003), by the editors of InStyle magazine, which provides advice and tips on dressing your best through scores of detailed, full-color illustrations and photographs.[12]

Broadway[edit]

Melcher has been responsible for creating a niche in the media industry as a producer of high-quality companion books to some of Broadway’s biggest musicals. It has published books for Avenue Q (2006),Jersey Boys (2007), Rent (1997), Spring Awakening, and Wicked. More than just companion volumes, these books create an opportunity to experience these hit Broadway shows in a new way.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Reid, Calvin. “Melcher media Gets Book Patent.” PW.com. 1 Nov. 2004. Web. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA476259.html?pubdate=11%2F1%2F2004&display=archive
  2. ^ Koerner, Brendan I. "Keeping Dostoyevsky Safe From The Surf." New York Times 7 Aug. 2005, Business sec. Print.
  3. ^ Donadio, Rachel. “Saving the Planet, One Book at a Time.” New York Times 9 Jul. 2008, Book Review sec. Print
  4. ^ Koncius, Jura. “Green House Effect.” Washington Post 21 Jul. 2005, Home sec. Print
  5. ^ Schonauer, David. “The Art of the Gap.” American Photo January/February 2007, Special Issue. Print.
  6. ^ “Snaps, Cackle ‘N Pop!” Daily Star 16 November 2006, Page 6. Print.
  7. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Capturing a Musical Between the Covers." Playbill.com. 27 Mar. 2008. Web. http://www.playbill.com/features/article/116249-Capturing_a_Musical_Between_the_Covers
  8. ^ Reid, Calvin. “Not Just Books—HBO Books.” PW.com. 3 Sept. 2007. Web. http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6473680.html
  9. ^ Lieberman, David. “TV's Bravo branches into talent business.” USAToday.com. 14 June 2007. Web. http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2007-06-14-bravo-usat_N.html
  10. ^ Rackl, Lori. “Hot Spots for ‘Sex’ Fiends.” Chicago Sun-Times. 25 Jun. 2008, Travel sec. Print.
  11. ^ Flamm, M. “New York not just a vanity buy.” Crain’s New York Business. 9 Jul. 2007. Page 8. Print.
  12. ^ Green, Penelope. “Magazine’s Decorating Tips, Distilled.” New York Times. 2 Oct. 2008, Home & Garden sec. Page F3. Print.
  13. ^ Simonson, Robert. "Capturing a Musical Between the Covers." Playbill.com. 27 Mar. 2008. Web. http://www.playbill.com/features/article/116249-Capturing_a_Musical_Between_the_Covers